As part of a photography contest he won last year, one of our favorite photographers, Navid Baraty, was awarded a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Over a course of 20 days, he got to see and experience India, taking beautiful portraits of its people and shooting stunningly authentic stories.

When asked what that experience was like, both as a new visitor and a photographer, Baraty told us this, “India is so hard for me to describe with words. I just can’t describe the intensity of how it was. The extreme congestion of people, the endless blaring horns, the dirt and filth, the blaring contrast between wealth and the astonishing amount of poverty and misery; it’s all so very real and shocking.”

“Photography in India felt the most rewarding to me than it ever has. I took more photos of people than ever in any of my work. India to me was very much about the people. It was about the kindness of the people and their curiosity of the camera, the intense and revealing looks in their eyes in the portraits, the excitement of the masses of children running up to me yelling ‘foto! foto! foto!’ and watching them light up after I showed them the shot.”

“One of the most memorable experiences for me was visiting a very poor housing colony in Jaipur that is also an orphanage and a sort of school to so many children. I got to sit in on a music class and watch the children sing and play instruments. So many people in India have so little, but they show more kindness and happiness than most people I’ve ever seen. It was one of the most incredible times of my life.”

Here are some of our favorite photos from his trip.

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